- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Dakotas led the nation in well-being in 2013, according to a new index that knocked Hawaii off the top spot and placed West Virginia and Kentucky at the bottom for the fifth year in a row.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index is based on more than 178,000 interviews with American adults in all the states that examines life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors and access to basic necessities.

Nebraska, Minnesota, Montana and Vermont ranked third through sixth behind No. 1 North Dakota and second-place South Dakota, while, Mississippi, Alabama, Ohio and Arkansas joined West Virginia and Kentucky at the bottom of the list.

“The nation’s well-being declined [in 2013] despite improvement in economic confidence in most states,” Gallup said. “Still, steady growth in 11 states’ well-being scores since 2010 illustrates that sustained improvements in well-being are possible regardless of national trends. Four states in particular — Montana, Vermont, Nebraska, and Iowa — demonstrate that steady progress is possible, even among the top 10 well-being states.”

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